Oil is a high energy plant-based liquid. It is organic and naturally occurring, and it has been around for millions of years.
Oil leaks spontaneously from the ocean floor worldwide. Cracks in the earth’s crust allow this oil to escape from natural underground reservoirs. California experiences 30 such natural oil seepages per year. The beaches may naturally and temporarily have some tar balls or dark stains, and it all resolves without consequence. It has been happening for eons, and the water and beaches organically clean themselves with oil carbohydrate digesting microorganisms, evaporation, and dilution. The oil is organically recycled into new, healthy plant life.
A macro analysis of oil spills shows the long-term environmental friendliness of oil. Thousands of oil tankers and other oil-containing ships were sunk worldwide in WW II, and massive amounts of oil were spilled along America’s eastern seaboard, the north Atlantic, the Mediterranean, Asian, Caribbean and South American waters. Yet, there were no environmental cleanups. Nature beautifully, organically recycled the oil into new life. The air, water, beaches and soil all returned to their clean, healthy, pre-spill status.
Major oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska have also caused no long-term damage. The Alaska and Gulf fisheries, human and animal populations are thriving. Pacific Northwest, Gulf of Mexico, and other Mexican fish and oysters are clean, healthy, and in high demand worldwide.
The oil wells off the coast of Southern and Central California have been there for over 120 years. The world’s first offshore oil wells were drilled in Santa Barbara’s waters in 1896. Those wells are still there. Finding oil in that area was not rocket science. The locals knew that oil appeared naturally on the beach and in the water long before any wells were drilled. They also knew the natural oil stains and slicks resolved, spontaneously.
Santa Barbara, Ventura, LA, and Orange County’s internationally renowned beaches are testament to the innocuousness of the offshore oil wells there. The wells at night look like Christmas trees, lit up in the dark waters. They also serve as a man-made reef and provide some of the best local fishing.
Oil was the first major industry in Southern and Central California. It was first collected in 1866. Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, and Kern Counties were the Texas of the West Coast. Many of those wells still exist in urban L.A. and other oil-rich areas. Beverly Hills has pumped over 150 million barrels of oil since 1900. It has 97 active oil wells. Driving by the California bobbing oil pumpjacks reveals clean air, clean land, no odor, no noise, and no dead animals. They are located in residential, commercial, and rural areas and along freeways. No evidence of serious health problems have been found.
Toxicity is an open-ended term. Drinking too much water can cause death from electrolyte imbalance or fluid overload. Drowning is an extreme example of water toxicity. Supplemental oxygen is life-saving in many situations but can cause death in patients with emphysema. Sun exposure causes vitamin D production which prevents osteoporosis. The same sun exposure causes deadly skin cancers. Is sunlight toxic?
In excessive doses or prolonged duration, it is toxic. Despite these fatalities, most people would not consider water, oxygen or sunlight as toxic substances.
Oil toxicity is minor. This is especially true in the United States with its advanced oil industry technology. Yet oil’s enormous benefits in providing energy for the industrial revolution has resulted in an almost doubling of human lifespan, dramatic reductions in global poverty, worldwide massive increase in food production, reduced human hard labor tasks and improved the quality of life over the past century.
We need more oil, natural gas, and clean coal to sustain modern civilization and expand its benefits to impoverished areas of the world.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.